Sunday, June 08, 2014

"The last of two great women writers - Muriel Spark and Sybille Bedford"

An Evening Standard review by David Sexton of the recently published collection of Muriel Spark's essays The Golden Fleece ..."It's an absolute treasure trove".   He also reviews Sybille Bedford's Pleasures and Landscapes.   Both authors died in 2006 and the reviewer cites Evelyn Waugh's admiration for them..

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

The Ballad of Peckham Rye... this year's East Dulwich Literary Festival.   Professor Martin Stannard will be giving a lecture on this early novel by Muriel Spark on Monday 30th June at 7.30 pm.   Professor Stannard will also have an early BBC Radio recording of the book.   Tickets are £2.50 and are available from Rye Books in East Dulwich (Tel: 020 3581 1850) or can be reserved by contacting David Workman at

Follow this link for further details about the lecture and to find out more about the Festival itselfwhich will host a variety of events including a reading and discussion by Gillian Clarke, the National Poet of Wales on 1st July.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A book review in the London Evening Standard...

 ...that mentions Muriel Spark's 'sweet singing voice'.   The review is of Lynn Barber's autobiography A Curious Career.   Fascinating reading anyway, covering a wide range of her celebrity interviews, but it might be worth trying to find the original interview with Muriel Spark online somewhere?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

Penelope Jardine on Woman's Hour

Here is a link to a podcast of yesterday's (27th March) BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour (available for download for a further 29 days) where Penelope Jardine discusses The Golden Fleece essays.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ian Rankin portrait...

...gifted to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery;  the link to the BBC news story is here in which Rankin  remembers that when he was a student at Edinburgh University, doing his thesis on Muriel Spark, her portrait came to the gallery.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Publications

At the end of this month (28 March) Carcanet Press will be publishing The Golden Fleece: Essays by Muriel Spark, edited by Penelope Jardine.     Please use the above web link to take you to the page which has all the details.

And at the end of April , the University of Notre Dame Press are publishing Hidden Possibilities:  Essays in Honor of Muriel Spark by Robert Ellis Hosmer.   The contributors include Regina Barreca, Gerard Carruthers, Barbara Epler, John Glavin, Dan Gunn, Robert E. Hosmer Jr., Joseph Hynes, Gabriel Josipovici, Frank Kermode, John Lanchester, David Malcolm, John Mortimer, Alan Taylor, and John Updike and Muriel Spark's friend Doris Lessing.

Doris Lessing's obituary in The Guardian published in November last year is here and there will be a  memorial service for her on 7 April at St-Martin-in-the-Fields in London.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Alphabet Library: B is for The Bachelors

In The Telegraph - an intriguing idea and a very good, incisive article about Muriel Spark's 1960 novel The Bachelors.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

And speaking of tests...

...for those not present at the Society's lunch this year here is the 30th Anniversary Quiz on The Only Problem.   Answers to follow!

  1. What does Effie steal at the supermarket on the autostrada?
  2. What is the name of Effie's lover?
  3. Which part of London do Edward and Ruth stay in?
  4. What is Effie's baby called?
  5. What is the name of Harvey's British lawyer?
  6. What is the name of the French family who own the chateau?
  7. Which painter painted Job visited by his wife?
  8. What do the letters FLE stand for?
  9. How did Harvey's family make their money?
  10. What are the names of Harvey's aunt and uncle in Toronto?
  11. To which figure from classical mythology does Harvey compare Job?
  12. In which arondissement in Paris is the policeman killed?
  13. What is the name of Harvey's interrogator after the killing?
  14. What is the name of the French policeman with English like that heard on Radio Moscow?
  15. What is Effie's battle name?
  16. What was Effie writing a thesis on?
  17. What gift does Harvey's aunt bring him?
  18. Which animal has vertical eyelids?
  19. One of Job's daughters has the name Keren Happuch.   What does her name mean?
  20. How many years does Harvey joke he will live at the end of the novel?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Test your foreign language skills!

Some foreign editions of three of Muriel Spark's novels are available from Eric Dickson - please email him at if interested:-

The Girls of Slender Means in Spanish, Portuguese and Russian
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in Portuguese and Russian
A Far Cry from Kensington in Romanian

and last but not least the complete short stories in Russian.